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Senate to Vote On Bailout Bill

Aired September 30, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Good evening.
Breaking news from Capitol Hill. The Senate plans to vote on that $700 billion financial bailout plan tomorrow night. And we have word Senators Obama, McCain and Biden all will be there, all will vote.

The Senate action will come two days after the House rejected the rescue measure.

And with the economy such a major story, later in the show tonight, we'll be going live to locations all around the nation and getting questions from anxious Americans. We've got crews outside Universal Studios in Los Angeles, in Oak Park, Illinois, Fairfax, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia.

Lots of panel guests, too.

And we begin with, in Washington, James Carville, the Democratic strategist, CNN political and Barack Obama supporter.

And in St. Paul, Minnesota, Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, who voted against the $700 billion bailout plan. She's a supporter of John McCain.

Why -- why, Michele?

Why did you say no?

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), VOTED AGAINST BAILOUT, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: Well, for principled reasons. I didn't believe that this plan would actually solve the crux of the problem, Larry, which was a credit crisis. We can solve this problem through changing some accounting rules under the SEC and enabling the FDIC to shore up banks. We don't need to put the taxpayers on the hook to the tune of $700 billion and give the Treasury secretary a blank check without accountability. That's not the way to go

KING: James, what are your thoughts on that?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, CLINTON SUPPORTER: Well, I mean I think that the Senate is going to vote on this thing tomorrow, is what we're hearing. It's just -- what we just reported on CNN. And I suspect that the Congressmen are starting to hear a sort of a different tune from the voters out there.

I think that when people start looking at the polling that comes in after this, they're going to see that public opinion has shifted rather significantly on this issue.

But, you know, Congress has to do what it does. And it was kind of remark -- this was more of a collapse of the center, if you will. I mean you had you the right-wing of the Republican Party -- 60 percent of the Republicans in Congress voting against it, with the left-wing of the Democratic Party.

So we're seeing a sort of a collapse of the center in Washington, which is pretty interesting. And the Republican Party just doesn't have as big a center as the Democratic Party.

KING: Congresswoman Bachmann, did Senator McCain try to get to you change your mind?

BACHMANN: Not personally, no, he didn't he, although I will say I think it was very helpful when he came in. I know the media has derided him for coming into Washington. But the fact is there never was a Republican agreement from the House Republicans with this plan.

And when Senator McCain came into Washington, he actually broke up the logjam. People started talking to each other.

We had bipartisan meetings in the House to try and find a solution. And so, actually, he was fairly helpful, although he was derided for this quite a bit in the media.

KING: By the way, because this tax bill -- all tax bills must originate in the House -- the Senate is attaching their vote to a bill that deals with...

BACHMANN: That's right.

KING: ...with renewable energy tax incentives so they can get through with this.

What's the Senate going to do, James, do you think?

CARVILLE: Boy, I mean all indications are that the Senate is going to pass it. I don't think that they would take it up if they didn't think they were going to pass it.

I think a real interesting question -- and maybe Congresswoman Bachmann can help with this -- what is Governor Palin's position on this bailout?

We know she'll be asked about it Thursday night. Maybe she can give us a preview of it.

BACHMANN: You know, I think...

KING: Do you know, Congresswoman?

BACHMANN: You know, I think that we will probably find out on Thursday night. I had a conversation with Governor Palin on Sunday afternoon. And we didn't ask -- I didn't specifically ask her what her position was. We talked more about where she's at right now, what she's going to be doing this week and debate prep and some of those things.

So I can tell you this, the people in Congress have been taking this really seriously the last couple of weeks. And the marvelous thing has been the way that we've been seeing Republicans and Democrats come together and really kind of sweat blood and tears over this, to figure out how in the world we can come to an answer, because this is this is a very strong credit crunch. This is a real credit crunch. We want to get an answer, but it needs to be the right answer and one that the American people can support.

KING: James, has the president lost his clout?

CARVILLE: Yes, I mean in a word. I think there was a new poll by ABC that showed his disapproval was the highest in polling history. Of course it is. But I'm kind of stunned that Governor Palin hasn't weighed in on this or made phone calls one way or the other that members of the Republican Caucus hadn't called and sought her counsel on this. I'm a little mystified here that we're in the biggest issue...

BACHMANN: You know, I'm not mystified...

CARVILLE: ...the biggest issue in the country -- the biggest issue facing the country and we don't know where a vice presidential nominee stands. I'm floored.

BACHMANN: You know, I'm not mystified at all about that, Larry, because the people that we need to...

KING: Really.


BACHMANN: The people we need to talk to are experts who've been there, done that, who have the expertise on that in the banking industry, as well as our constituents. I can tell you, for the last two or three weeks, members of Congress have been on the phone back home with their constituents.

This isn't necessarily a political issue. We just want to get to the right answer.

CARVILLE: I just find it absolutely stunning...

KING: But don't you think, as James...

CARVILLE: I find it absolutely stunning that a candidate for vice president of the United States has not expressed an opinion on the most dramatic piece of legislation to come before Congress since I don't know how when and that members of her own party have not consulted her or sought her counsel in this.

I'm sorry. I know exactly where Senator McCain stands. I know where Senator Biden stands. I know where Senator Obama stands. I do not know and the American people don't know where Governor Palin stands. BACHMANN: Well, I think we're all going to know pretty soon.


BACHMANN: I think as of Thursday night, we're all going to know where she stands, James.

CARVILLE: I'm surprised you hadn't sought her counsel on this.


KING: Wouldn't it have helped to know before you voted in the House, Michele?

BACHMANN: No, not at all. Absolutely not.


BACHMANN: Because what I -- what -- I'm a former federal tax lawyer and I know people in the banking industry. I know people who've, like I said, been there, done that.

I spoke with a former FDIC chair who actually saw America through the S&L meltdown. I sought out people who have expertise in banking. And I called people back in my district.

That's what most members of Congress were doing. They weren't burning up the phone lines to call Joe Biden to find out what Joe Biden thinks. What they wanted to know is what experts think and what people that they represent think.

CARVILLE: But let me just throw out the name of somebody that knows something that says they should have done this -- Warren Buffett. Now, maybe he doesn't -- maybe he's not a tax attorney, but I suspect he knows a little bit about economic matters.

And so why would -- why would a person like Warren Buffett be for something like this if it were so terrible?

I mean, I'm not an expert and I'm certainly not a tax lawyer, but, you know, one thing about experts is if you call the ones that you want, you get the answer you want.

But, however, this is an enormous political issue that a vice presidential candidate has not weighed in, not offered an opinion on. And I just -- I find that mystifying.

KING: All right. Speaking of politics...

BACHMANN: Well, I...

KING: Both of you remain -- hold on. We'll come back to you.

Last night, by the way, we kicked off a new feature on our show, Larry King Interactive -- your chance to be part of the show.

What do you think about what's being said right now?

Whether you agree or disagree,, it's time to sound off. The conversation is happening now at

Later in the show, we're going to take questions from people all across the country.

More politics ahead.

Stay there.


KING: James Carville and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann remains.

We are joined now in Washington with Maria Cardona, the Democratic strategist, former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton.

And Terry Holt, who was national spokesmen for Bush-Cheney in 2004 and is a senior adviser for the Republican National Committee.

The speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has said tonight that the Senate has made a decision about how to proceed and what can pass that body. The Senate votes tomorrow night. We will work our will. House Democrats remain strongly committed to a comprehensive bill.

Maria, what went wrong?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, SUPPORTS OBAMA: Well, I think part of the problem here, Larry, is that Congressional leadership -- I think on both sides -- needs to communicate to the American people exactly how this plan is going to affect them. And I think right now, frankly, it's Democrats who have done a little bit of a better job of that.

I think what you're seeing with this whole fiasco is the realization by America's middle class that these last eight years of failed Republican economic policies has shown a total and complete disdain of the situation of the middle class. You know, this conversation -- the oh, my God, what are we going to do now conversation -- has been taking place in America's living rooms for the past two years, way before it's been taking place in Wall Street's boardrooms.

And I think that's...

KING: Terry...

CARDONA: ...that's what the focus needs to be

KING: Terry, what do you make of this?

TERRY HOLT, FORMER BUSH-CHENEY 2004 SPOKESPERSON: Well, I think that any time you do something great, big and large and complicated, it's almost inevitable that politics are going to get in the way. But, you know, I was a leadership staffer when the Republicans were in charge of the Congress. And the one thing that I knew for certain was that if were going to pass a bill, we had to pass it with majority votes. The number of votes we could rely on from the minority party, the Democrats at the time, were few and far between. And almost no negotiating that we did with them got us more than 35 or 40 votes.

So to express the shock and surprise that Nancy Pelosi did and then deliver such a partisan speech -- I've heard all around town for the last day that that speech put everybody on edge and charged this big, important issue with all of the politics in the world, making it a lot more complicated to turn votes on the House floor yesterday morning.

KING: James, do you think people voted against it because of her speech?

CARVILLE: Oh, please. Please. Just don't -- I mean that's just too ludicrous for words. And, by the way, I think she pointed out quite correctly that it was the economic policies of this administration that caused it. But it doesn't matter.

What they were trying to do is -- and what Senator Gregg from New Hampshire points out and everybody else did -- the Democrats tried to forge a bipartisan bill, saying this is an extraordinary time.

The Republican Party had a complete breakdown in its ranks. And that's what happened.

And there's no sense in doing anything else. I mean Senator McCain couldn't save the day. He went there and, you know, was going to come in and he wasn't going to debate, then he was. And it was the most confusing weird week I've ever seen any presidential candidate have.

So, I mean, they'll go to the Senate and the phone calls will change and they'll cobble something together and do something.

CARDONA: Larry, can I just say...

KING: Congresswoman, you broke from your party.

Did your party's leadership...

BACHMANN: Yes, I did.

KING: You broke from them.

BACHMANN: Yes, I did. I broke from the party's leadership. I was there on the floor. I was actually just about to deliver my speech on the floor on the bailout bill when Nancy Pelosi entered the chamber and she gave the infamous speech that has been talked about. It was a very interesting speech, because it was highly partisan, bitter, attacking the Bush administration...

KING: But you were... BACHMANN: ...attacking the bailout...

KING: Excuse me.

But you were going to vote against it anyway, right?

BACHMANN: Oh, yes, I planned to vote against it anyway.

KING: So she didn't change your mind.

BACHMANN: So what was remarkable about -- I don't know if it did change some of our members' minds, because it was so vitriol. But what she made clear is that it seemed she was planning to attack our members in tens of millions of dollars of campaign ads if they voted for the bill. Remember, the Democrats control the House. The Democrats control the Senate. If she wanted to pass this bill, she could. Forty percent of the Democrats wouldn't vote against this bill. That's the real story.

KING: Maria?

BACHMANN: The Democrats wouldn't pass this bill. That's the story.

KING: Maria, you wanted to say something?

CARDONA: Yes. Larry, I think that we have seen -- today, Republicans even have come out to say that they're blaming this on Pelosi. Yesterday was just a farce to cover for the fact that they didn't have the votes to begin with.

So again, don't blame Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats for something that was a complete failure on behalf of the Republican leadership here.

KING: Terry, are they going to...


KING: Terry Holt, are they going to pass it?

HOLT: I believe that ultimately they will. But to this point -- you know, whenever you have a situation where people think they may be attacked politically -- and forgive me, but this leadership in the House has been very good at passing whatever the heck they wanted, whenever they wanted, in highly partisan terms...

BACHMANN: That's right.

HOLT: And in this case, they proved that they would take this issue to the voters in a politically charged way and attack members.

So, in my view, if the Democrats want to pass a bill, they should first look to themselves.

KING: OK... HOLT: They have 236 votes on the House floor.

KING: All right. All right, guys.

Let me get a break...

HOLT: They've got plenty of votes to pass whatever they want.

KING: We've got lots more to come.

Keep blogging at

Later in the show, we're going to take questions from people live all across the country. Our experts are going to give them some help.

And we'll be back in 60 seconds.


KING: In case you missed it, still ahead, we're going to take questions from people live all across the country.

And don't forget about our Larry King Interactive. You go to and join the live discussion.

Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin for tonight's "CBS Evening News" took place.

Let's take a look at a snippet.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I do look forward to Thursday night and debating Senator Joe Biden.


PALIN: We're going to talk about those new ideas, new energy for America. I'm looking forward to meeting him, too. I've never met him before, but I've been hearing about his Senate speeches since I was in like second grade.


KATIE COURIC, ANCHOR, CBS EVENING NEWS: You made a funny comment. You said you've been listening to Joe Biden's speeches since you were in second grade, something like that.

PALIN: Since something like '72. Yes.

COURIC: And when you have a 72-year-old running mate, is that a risky thing to say, insinuating that Joe Biden's been around a while?

PALIN: Oh, no. It's nothing negative at all. He's got a lot of experience. I'm just stating the fact there that we've been hearing his speeches for all these years. So he's got a tremendous amount of experience.

And, you know, I'm the new energy, the new face, the new ideas. And he's got the experience based on many, many years in the Senate. And voters are going to have a choice there in what it is that they want in these next four years.


KING: Did McCain make a mistake by picking Palin?

We've got two radio talk show hosts who are going to debate that and politics, as well, after this short break.



KING: To discuss the Sarah Palin effect, in Dallas is Rob Dreher, the conservative editorial columnist of "The Dallas Morning News". He blogs on

And in Portland, Oregon, Lars Larson, the Westwood One talk radio, host of his own program. He is -- describes himself as being right on the left coast and is a supporter of John McCain.

Rod, have you soured on this ticket?

ROD DREHER, CONSERVATIVE EDITORIAL COLUMNIST: I have, Larry. I was initially very supportive of it because of Sarah Palin. I've been disgusted with my own party, the Republican Party, for a long time and I was only very grudgingly behind John McCain.

When he named Sarah Palin, I was ecstatic. I came out fighting for her early on, because she's young, she's anti-establishment and she is a social and religious conservative, as I am, who not only talks the talk, she walks the walk.

I thought...

KING: What changed?

DREHER: Well, what changed is she started talking. She started talking to Charlie Gibson. She started talking to Katie Couric. And I began to realize that, you know, just because she made the right enemies on the left and just because she may share some of my values, that doesn't mean she's qualified to be the vice president.

And I became more and more shocked and disillusioned by how little she seems to know about the things that a vice president should know -- or someone who is going to step in to be president should know.

And with this past week's economic news, I've begun to realize that, you know, we just can't take this risk right now.

I'm not an Obama fan. I'm not voting for Obama. But I just right now don't see that I can vote for McCain and Palin.

KING: Lars, you continue to support her.


LARS LARSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, SUPPORTS MCCAIN: Absolutely. I think she's got good judgment. And I think she's been given an unfair rap by a media that really doesn't like her. Media people, in general, we're well paid, well-educated and we hang out with some very important people and tend to act elitist.

KING: How do they rap...

LARSON: An awful lot of people (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: How do they rap her?

Give me an example of how they rap her.

LARSON: They rap her by suggesting, well, she doesn't know enough about the McCain -- or about the Bush doctrine. Well, which one, Charlie Gibson?

KING: But that was one...

LARSON: The first one or the fourth one?

KING: That was one that was one interviewer.

LARSON: That's right. That's one interviewer.

KING: Are you saying there's a concerted effort to rap her?


KING: She's only done three interviews.

LARSON: I do, because I think she breaks from the tradition. I think that the elite Eastern -- primarily Eastern media -- is used to dealing with people that they're familiar with and that look and talk like them.

Sarah Palin does not. And I think that makes them uncomfortable. But that's exactly the asset she has with the American people.

I think the American people look at Governor Palin and say that lady is like me and she's got good judgment

KING: Does anything about her concern you?

LARSON: Oh, sure. I mean, do I wish that she had more years of experience?


And do I wish that she fit more of some of the policy positions that I hold?

Yes. I actually wish John McCain did, too.

But the fact is, I think she's got good judgment, will make good decisions. And that's really the key -- not years and years in Washington, D.C. or in any particular state, but the ability to make good decisions.

And she did that as governor of Alaska. I liked her standing up to her own party, standing up to the oil companies, understanding that America runs on oil and we need it. I mean we don't have enough people in this race right now understanding that this country runs on oil.

KING: All right...

LARSON: And it's great to talk alternatives, but you need the fuel today.

KING: Rod, how do you respond?

DREHER: Well, I don't see any evidence that she really has thought deeply about international matters or the economy or things that she would really have to be on top of if she were to become the president. I mean, I agree with Lars, I think she's been a breath of fresh air. I like the way that she stood up to the good old boy network in the Republican Party in Alaska.

But come on, you can't get the kind of answers -- the robotic talking point answers that she has given to Katie Couric -- Katie Couric, of all people, that's not exactly a hard ball interview -- and expect to be taken seriously.

And I'm not a member of the Eastern elite media. I work for "National Review" magazine.

I'm a conservative blogger at

But we have to talk about what we see. And even if it hurts the Republican ticket, I can't be dishonest about flaws I see in Sarah Palin. And that's too bad, because I think that she represents the next wave of conservative politicians in this country. But I guess we're going to have to wait until 2012 and see Bobby Jindal.

KING: Lars?

LARSON: No, I'm going to disagree. I think that Governor Palin is going to make good decisions. And I don't see any evidence that she's made bad decisions where she's been called upon.

Now, when reporters ask her hypotheticals or ask her what do you know about this, what do you know about that, this is like one of those games where you try trip the person up with hypotheticals.

I think that when it gets to the real world, she'll make good judgment calls. And I like the things that I've heard from her, even the ones that some of the Eastern media believes are gaffes. DREHER: But, you know, Lars, that is such a talking point, the idea that, well, if ask you her about foreign policy...

LARSON: No, it's my opinion.

DREHER: And Russia...

LARSON: I don't take talking points. It's my opinion.

DREHER: ...that, oh, she can't answer that, that it must be some sort of got you journalism. That's -- that's just not true. That's -- and we have spent the last eight years with a president that I voted for twice who did not know his way around foreign policy when he came into office. And I think we've really dug ourselves on the right into a very deep hole.

I know how this story ends and I don't want to go through it again.

LARSON: The fact is the president we've got has kept us safe for years. Bill Clinton, I don't believe, did that. And I don't believe that John Kerry or Al Gore would have done a better job than George Bush at the number one job of president...

DREHER: Didn't...

LARSON: ...keeping the country safe.

KING: Just to be fair, Lars...

LARSON: Yes, sir?

KING: many people -- how many soldiers died in the Clinton administration and how many in the Bush?

LARSON: I think that the Clinton administration set America up for 9/11...

KING: Oh. So it was Clinton's fault.

LARSON: not responding to the terrorist threat.

KING: OK. I didn't know it was Clinton's fault.

LARSON: Oh, I'm just saying...

KING: Thank you, Lars.

I didn't know.

LARSON: I'm just suggesting...

KING: I had no idea.

LARSON: ...that those years set us up by not responding. Al Qaeda responds to not responding. When you go out and you tell... KING: I got you.

LARSON: ...them we're going to hunt you down and kill you, al Qaeda understands that.

KING: No, I didn't -- I'm just reiterating, I didn't know that.

LARSON: Well...

KING: Lars Larson, Westwood One talk radio host, and Rod Dreher of "The Dallas Morning News."

Our team of political experts return right after this.



KING: We're back with our panel.

But first, just to recap the breaking news tonight from Capitol Hill, the Senate plans to vote on -- tomorrow night on the bill that the House rejected.

We're with James Carville, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Maria Cardona and Terry Holt.

We have word, by the way, that Senators Biden, McCain and Obama all will vote for the bill in the Senate tomorrow night.

Hillary Clinton spoke with "Entertainment Tonight" about Sarah Palin this past weekend while she was in Michigan campaigning for Obama.

Take a look and then I'll have our panel comment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think of the job she's done so far?

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, look, I think she was thrown into a very difficult situation. And as I've said many times before, it's exciting that the Republicans put a woman on the ticket. But that's not a good enough reason to vote for the ticket.


KING: James, is she a liability or a plus?

CARVILLE: A liability, a big one. I mean, she -- come on, this thing with Katie Couric is a disaster. You have Republican columnists, you've got people running for the hills. By the way, if this thing doesn't turn out well Thursday night, they have a major, major problem on their hands. KING: Congresswoman Bachmann are you concerned?

BACHMANN: The media has been salivating over Sarah Palin, hoping that she'll trip over herself. She performed beautifully here in St. Paul, Minnesota. I know she'll perform very well on Thursday evening. Again, the media is upset because she hasn't learned the art of nuance and the media dance you have to do on the national level. The media is used to politicians who obfuscate, who nuance their answers, or like Bill Clinton back in the days, when he wouldn't get a straight answer. That's what they're used to.

They aren't used to someone who speaks their mind and is straight forward.

KING: When you refer to the media, which media?

BACHMANN: What we all call the liberal eastern establishment. Not you, Larry. You're the good guy.

KING: Rush Limbaugh is the media. "The New York Times" is the media. So when you say the media, you include Rush?

BACHMANN: What I'm talking about is the gotcha media. There's gotcha media that are looking for a leftist candidate. The media that loves the leftist candidate and can't stand a conservative candidate. It's not you, Larry.

KING: I only ask it because I've heard people say media all their lives and I don't know what media they're talking about. Are you talking about the "National Enquirer," or the "New York Daily News" or --

BACHMANN: Very good question.

KING: That's why I asked.

BACHMANN: And you're asking the right question, Larry. What I'm talking about is the media that loves liberal candidates and hates conservative candidates and wants to get them.

KING: Hates them, you mean.


KING: Maria, is she a liability?

CARDONA: Let's be honest, I think when John McCain made his choice of Sarah Palin, he did it because he need a game-changing moment. It was coming out of the Democratic convention and he really needed to change the dynamic of the race and to shake things up. The reason why I don't think it's going to work ultimately is not because she doesn't have as much experience on the national scene as people might think she needs to have. It's not because she hasn't held her own in national interviews. It's because, ultimately, it is about a McCain administration. The fact that she is going to absolutely and completely support all of the policies that have put us in this big predicament, economically and from a foreign policy standpoint, that we have been in for the last eight years. It's going to continue, four more years of the same and that's what we can't afford. Ultimately, the voters are going to make their decision based on the policies that the top of the ticket are going to put forward.

KING: Do you have any concerns, Terry?

HOLT: Well, you know, I'm concerned that somehow she's disqualified from being -- for being president -- vice president because she's from a middle-class family; she's from Alaska and nobody here inside the beltway heard of her before the Republican convention. Since when does not being from Washington disqualify you? First of all, she was -- she was disqualified. She said she couldn't be vice president because she was the mom for a special needs kid. Then it became because she doesn't do witty chit-chat with the anchors of big television shows.

Tomorrow she comes out, she makes a connection with the middle class. She's concise. She's sharp and consistent. And she'll do fine. I'm not worried. I think she has been the game-changer that the Republicans needed. We've seen a rush to help Republican candidates that, frankly, we didn't see before the Republican convention. And I'm glad she's on the ticket, Larry.

KING: All right, James. That's pretty strong statement.

CARVILLE: You know, I -- I can't help but say this, Bill Clinton was born in Arkansas. Barack Obama was a black male born to an 18- year-old mother. I mean, please, this has nothing to do with Alaska or Arkansas or anything else. This is about a woman who, as I said, is supremely and uniquely unqualified to hold the office to which she aspires. That's what it's about, period. Everything that she has done so far in this campaign has done nothing but buttress the view that I've set from day one.

HOLT: I don't understand how Sarah Palin, a governor of Alaska, is less qualified than Bill Clinton, for that matter. They both brought executive experience, executive experience, incidentally, Larry, that Barack Obama does not have. So I think that this is a false argument. We're going to see a clear and concise performance by Sarah Palin tomorrow night --

KING: Let me get break and we'll come right back. By the way, no senator has executive experience. America's getting ready to ask their questions. There's still lots more to talk about. Stay with us.


KING: We're back with our panel. A question from our blog tonight from Andrew: "why is it that the Republican leadership said there were the votes, they had them, but the members decided to stab them in the back? Also, if McCain was such a great help, why did the measure fail?" Congresswoman Bachmann, why?

BACHMANN: There never was a deal that was struck. I don't know what the answer is about who had the votes or who didn't. Nancy Pelosi, the House and Senate are both controlled by Democrats. Speaker Pelosi brought the bill to the floor. If she brought it to the floor, presumably she had her total vote count established. And if Republicans didn't supply the vote, she had the ability to supply the votes. Clearly, she didn't have those votes, because 40 percent of Democrats rejected this bill, many of whom are vulnerable freshman Democrats, who felt if they voted for the bill they'd lose their seat.

So it was Speaker Pelosi that didn't deliver. But House Republicans that didn't vote for this bill, including myself, felt this was not the solution --

KING: Will you change your mind Thursday?

BACHMANN: I haven't seen the bill yet, Larry. I have to see the bill.

KING: Maria, do you think it will change Thursday?

CARDONA: The vote count? I hope that it will. And I think that, you know, a lot of Americans are really counting on Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to really step up to the plate and do what's needed to make sure we get out of this economic fix.

You know, but to go back to, you know, the -- what happened with the Republican votes or what didn't happen, you know, the whip count right before this vote apparently showed that there were enough Republican votes. And, frankly, the Democrats and Pelosi delivered far beyond what they said they were going to deliver, in terms of what was need on the Democratic side to get this plan approved.

And, by the way, we have to remember, this was Bush/Republican plan. This was not a Democratic plan. So for a Bush/Republican plan to go down the tubes and up in flames because of a lack of Republican leadership and a lack of Republican support, I think, says a whole lot about the stage of this Republican party nowadays.

KING: We have another question --

BACHMANN: But, Larry, that was the point.

KING: I got you. I understand. Another question from our blog, from Jeff: "will the focus of the vice presidential debate be an economic crisis? If so, what can the candidates offer from their own position of experience, other than just reiterating their respective running mates' positions." Carville, it covers all subjects, doesn't it, this debate?

CARVILLE: Yes, it covers all subjects, but obviously a good quarter to a third of this debate will be on the current economic crisis. We pointed out earlier, we'll get some illumination on Governor Palin's position here. I look forward to that. I think a lot of people will be watching this debate Thursday night. I certainly urge everybody to tune in.

KING: Terry, do you think they'll touch a lot of topics?

HOLT: I think they'll try to. Gwen Ifill is the host for this tomorrow night is going to run the whole range. I think this is an opportunity, perhaps the biggest and only opportunity for most Americans to get a good look at both of these candidates, and I expect it will be a full-ranging thing.

Keep in mind, I think the most important players at that debate won't even be there tomorrow night. Joe Biden is going to focus on John McCain and I would expect that Sarah Palin will do a pretty good job of focusing on Barack Obama and his lack of qualifications to be president, that he's not ready to be president. We'll see these two candidates tomorrow night kind of talking past each other a little bit and focusing on the top of the ticket.

KING: Is that what we want, Maria?

CARDONA: Again, I do think it's something the voters are looking for. Ultimately, I think the voters are going to make their decision on who they think the best vice presidential candidate is going to be based on this debate and based on the rest of the campaign. They don't need pundits and talking heads to tell them that. I do think that ultimately these -- the candidates, the VP candidates are going to focus on the policies at the top of the ticket, because, frankly, that is what matters. Joe Biden is going to, I'm sure, prosecute this campaign against John McCain and against the failed policies of the Republican party that we've had for the last eight years, which we will have four more of if John McCain is elected. And I'm sure Sarah Palin will go after Senator Obama and what she thinks that will mean

KING: Thanks to all of you very much. We'll be calling on all of you again, probably tomorrow. Don't forget about our new interactive blog at We have a great discussion going. If you need financial help, stick around because Dave Ramsey and Ali Velshi are answering questions from all over the country. That's next.


KING: Right now, back with our financial whiz kids, Ali Velshi and Dave Ramsey. And we have a question coming from Eric, who is standing by in Oak Park, Illinois. Eric, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, hi. I own a family owned small business family popcorn store in Oak Park, Illinois. If the bailout and rescue plan goes through and the banks get the money to give credit out to people, how long is it going to take for that money to funnel into people's pockets so they start walking back into my store, buying gifts for their friends and family and enjoying popcorn again?

KING: Ali?

ALI VELSHI, CNN SENIOR BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the interesting part, Larry. It's only going to go back to a situation we were in before we thought we had this financial crisis. In other words, people who don't think that credit's going to be available have been holding back on spending. So it's really psychological at this point. The folks who are buying stuff from your store, if they're not buying it right now, it's because they're fearful that they're either not going to have that credit available or they're going to lose their job.

If we feel that money's available, they're going to come back. You're probably not going to be as profoundly impacted by this passage of this bill than others might be.

KING: Do you have something to add to that, Dave?

DAVE RAMSEY, PERSONAL FINANCE EXPERT: I think Ali is exactly right, it's psychological. There's a spirit of fear over this thing and it's sidelined people. If you -- sir, if you've seen a dramatic drop off in the last week, you'll see a dramatic increase as soon as something passes Congress and the markets loosen up. If you've seen a steady decline, then you're going to adjust your business model and draw in some new customers. Washington isn't going to send them to you. I'm sorry.

KING: Thanks Eric and good luck. Let's go to Fairfax, Virginia, to Tim, who is inside the Rio Grande Restaurant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't buy these troubles mortgage assets now, what will the cost be to the tax payers down the road?

KING: Good question. Dave?

RAMSEY: I don't think there is going to be a lot of cost to the tax payers down the road. There's a lot of other plans out there, a lot of plan Bs on the market. Some 80 or 90 percent of the public are telling their representatives not to vote for this. It's one of the reasons it failed on Monday.

We have a plan called the Common Sense Fix that a lot of people are looking at. I didn't design it, but it's just some ideas, some other things we can do, other than buy these things to prop up and give the markets a value. They definitely are going to have to be calmed down and credit is definitely going to have to be loosened up on the markets.

At the institutional level -- credit at the local level -- local credit unions are making car loans. Local community banks are making mortgages and they're giving small business loans. That hasn't slowed down. Mortgages are still closing for people that are qualified. But the institutional gridlock that we've got right now is what's scaring everybody.

KING: Ali, is this bailout pill the be-all and end-all?

VELSHI: No, I think Dave's right. Something has to happen to free up the credit markets. It may be a bill proposed that's this week. It may be something else. But what's happened is because there is the idea that something is going to happen, those institutional credit markets are frozen up. Let's say that Congress said nothing's going to happen, there will be a way to get out of this. But right now, markets are frozen.

Dave's right, if you have good credit, if you're buying a property with money down on it, with a good down payment and the property is sound, you can still get a loan in this country. The problem is, everybody else and there's a lot of everybody else in this country who aren't getting access to credit right now.

KING: Dave, would you vote for this bill?

RAMSEY: No. I'm asking people to not pass it. I'm with the angry public. I think it's been promoted by the Bush administration in a very unsound way, a lot of fear pushing it. They tried to cram it down our throats with a lot of fear. I'm really disappointed in the Democrats and the Republicans' leadership on this. Their partisan bickering is just sickening over this.

KING: Ali, would you vote for it?

VELSHI: I would vote to get something done very quickly. I understand the anger that Dave's been getting. We've been getting it on phone calls and e-mails as well. People have good reason to be angry. I think Dave is right, Washington has not sold this as Main Street plan. The bottom line is this credit crisis is very serious. The rate at which banks can loan each other money overnight is the highest it's ever been.

So there's a bit of crisis about this. It's not about your 401(k) right now. That will recover. People shouldn't panic and they can't have much influence on this. Do understand that it's not a Wall Street bailout. It is something that will work its way down to Main Street and something needs to happen. If it's not this bill, something does.

KING: You have questions, we have answers. Our next question will come from Los Angeles when Dave and Ali return.


KING: Let's get another question from one of our fellow citizens out there. We go to Los Angeles and Greg. Greg?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Larry, I would like to know what is going to happen if Congress fails to do anything to help with Wall Street?

KING: Ali?

VELSHI: The world won't come to an end, I guarantee you that. There are people who warn of Depression. There are many very specific reasons we will get into another time as to why we're not likely to be headed for a Depression. We're probably in a recession now, and it could get worse if Congress doesn't do something. A lot is psychological. It's assuring people that the system isn't going to fail. We're not assured of that right now, because we've seen banks fail; we've seen investment companies fail.

The world won't come to an end, but there is a credit crisis right now, and it will continue to trickle down to you and harm you in your availability to get credit and possibility to keep your job. That's the part I'm worried about most, jobs could be lost.

KING: Ali, thanks very much for sharing some time with us. Ali Velshi, CNN senior business correspondent. Dave Ramsey will remain in our remaining moments. We go to Brian in Atlanta with a question. Brian, are you there?


KING: Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Larry, how long will it take before we know it's too late to bail Wall Street out?

KING: Dave?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When is it too late?

RAMSEY: I agree with what Ali just said. I don't think there is a too late. The market threw a hissy fit yesterday when the thing didn't pass and dropped 700 points; 250 of that was computer generated trading in the last 38 minutes. It recovered 485 points today because it seemed like the spoiled child was going to get what she wanted. You can't judge the stock market on a daily basis. It is truly like feeding a spoiled brat with political pills.

I don't think there is a too late. I think you can slow down. The Congress can take some wisdom with this. The credit markets do need to be freed up. We may see some hits on our values in our 401(k)s. They will come back 100 percent in the ten year periods have made money. That includes the Great Depression. I don't think we are going to see a Great Depression. I don't think we are going to see a meltdown. I think a lot of fear that has been pedalled on this has been way overdone.

KING: One more question in. To Fairfax, Virginia, to Chelsea. Are you there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am. Thank you. As a young person entering the job force, should I be more concerned with higher job security or higher salary and more benefits?

RAMSEY: Good question. You ought to be more concerned with finding a place where you can leave the cave, kill something and drag it home, and you can perform and get paid for your performance. Your security, darling, is based on your own ability. That's what gives you marketability. The average young person will have 14 different jobs in their working lifetime these days. You look for a fun place to work, a place you can be passionate about and a place you get rewarded for your efforts.

KING: Thank you and good luck. Dave, a couple quick things. Based on the performance you criticized of everything going on, do you see any political leader coming through here with a solution of leadership?

RAMSEY: No, I don't. That's kind of sad. I think there's enough bipartisan bickering. You had that bunch on in this first half. It was interesting to listen to them. They had nothing to say about the other party and their guy is never wrong. Whoever picks up the ball and actually runs with it -- if Senator McCain or Senator Obama would come to Washington with a complete alternative plan that matched up with what the American public is looking for, which is something other than 700 billion dollars in debt, then I think they would be the next president and their party will be the heroes.

No one has led on this thing. It's kind of a pitiful lack of leadership in both parties, honestly.

KING: Thanks, Dave, as always for being with us. Love calling on you.

RAMSEY: Thank you for having me.

KING: Dave Ramsey, the personal finance expert who is a best selling "New York Times" author. His newest, "The Total Money Makeover." We thank Ali Velshi too.

We got a new feature, Larry King Interactive. It's your chance to be part of the show. You can interact right now, And while you're at the website, download our podcast, the hilarious Chris Rock. He takes on politics as only he can. As always, you can e-mail questions for our guests and participate in our quick vote, all at

Now, here's Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" with lots on his plate.